Ying Chew

I am interested in challenging the distinction between art and craft. My aim is to explore the connections between art, craft and technology and through this to focus on aspects of the human condition. 

While every culture has traditions of needlework, it has been widely viewed as little more than a hobby, typically produced by women within the domestic sphere and associated with notions of comfort and familiarity. My intention is to seduce viewers with this familiarity and to invite or encourage them to rethink their preconceptions. 

Today textiles are products of technology, which means that there is little opportunity to instill them with individual and spiritual values. I am interested in combining the technological with the handmade. Specifically, I use digital technology (Photoshop) as a tool to produce a pattern, which is then hand-embroidered employing techniques that have been used for centuries. In this way, I hope to imbue humble raw materials (mass-produced cotton and canvas) with a uniqueness, visual richness and excitement. I am particularly interested in the use of textiles as a medium because of their ephemeral qualities—it seems appropriate that a medium that embodies a conceptual idea should not be everlasting. 

These works are part of a series inspired by daguerreotypes. Through the superimposition of images these portraits of unidentified people suggest the layering of experience and how our environments affect us. Specifically, I am interested in capturing a sense of the impermanence of life, as well as what we leave behind.